Taken by Trees, Other Worlds
A subtle portrait of a Hawaii paradise
Victoria Bergsman has an incredibly malleable voice, one that shape-shifts ably through changing musical contexts. Since stepping away from The Concretes in 2006, the singer/songwriter has used her solo project to explore varied musical landscapes from the bucolic folk of her native Sweden (Open Field), to the sun-baked folk traditions of Pakistan (East of Eden). For her third outing, Bergsman headed to Hawaiiâ€”eschewing heavy-handed use of traditional island elements (read: avoided producing an album of Kamakawiwo’ole covers), in favor of a subtler portrait of the paradise.
Birds, rain and thunder all make cameos, but the emphasis here is on waves of hazy synth, embellished with the occasional hint of steel drum. The result is like finding a faded, lens-flare riddled vacation Polaroid in the back of an old drawer. “I’m dreaming/ as good as it gets/ don’t wake me yet,” Bergsman sings on “Highest High,” her breathy vocals propelled by a contented sigh. The entirety of Other Worlds floats along, abiding by the same unhurried logic. Submerged in her creation, Bergsman plays the role, not so much of a frontwoman, but rather a tropical siren – calling for the listener to join her. “No one will believe us when we tell them what we’ve seen,” she promises in “Dreams,” against a bed of handclaps and slide guitar. It’s an alluring invitation, and an irresistible one.